Essaouira is a coastal city in the west of Morocco. Exposed to the sharp Atlantic winds, it is often labelled as the ‘Wind City of Africa’. Relax in this magical city than over a delicious meal and a refreshing drink at one of these 10 restaurants in Essaouira.
Restaurant, Moroccan, $$$
As you can tell by the name, La Fromagerie is a cheese affair. Located just outside Essaouira, do not let the whereabouts dishearten you – it is at most a 10-minute taxi drive from the medina. Situated on a hill, the restaurant is a humble, traditional house which prides itself in producing divine, organic, locally made cheeses. During a small tour around the restaurant you get to see how the cheeses are made. All of La Fromagerie’s dishes come with a cheesy twist – grilled peppers stuffed with goat’s cheese, grilled aubergine with cheese – all accompanied by the local wine.
If you long for a change from Moroccan cuisine, Gusto Italia has something more familiar. A lovely refined Italian restaurant with a modern setting and typical hearty Italian food, it is the perfect lunch stop on your adventures in Essaouira. The cuisine is of high quality and includes all you can think of – from beef tenderloin to fish ravioli, everything is made fresh and from scratch. Gusto Italia is close to the beach as well as the medina, so a short walk will do the job.
Restaurant, Moroccan, Coffee, Fast Food, Vegetarian
Elizir is an eclectic quirky restaurant with a retro decor that works its magic on all customers. The atmosphere is nothing short of alluring as a mix of jazz and other genres play in the background. The place itself often makes it feel like you’re dining in a vintage shop. The food comes with the same character: you can find your traditional Moroccan dishes, like the tasty, wholesome tagine (organic chicken or lamb) and also a fusion of other cuisines – a lovely cuttlefish risotto and ricotta ravioli. And, to seal the deal, Elizir offers a great selection of wines to enjoy with your dinner.
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This is a restaurant that has a lovely Moroccan vibe and serves vegan and vegetarian food, all locally sourced, fresh and organic. Le Triskala offers an original twist on the tagine, which they serve with sardines. With Essaouira having the ocean at its doorstep, the fish is always as fresh as can be. If you would like to opt out for a fully vegetarian tagine, Le Triskala serve theirs with pumpkin and artichoke – the perfect option for all veggie lovers.
The layout of this restaurant is slightly different, as it resembles a cozy wooden cottage in the mountains; but with plenty of Moroccan decorations, rugs and pottery in every corner. Loft is colorful and fun, and their food is delicious. They offer beautiful monkfish cooked in cream sauce, grilled shrimp with saffron rice and much more. Their saffron-infused crème brûlée shows Loft uses high-quality ingredients. Though the prices are a little higher than the average restaurant in Essaouira, the standard of the food served matches.
Umia is the classy romantic restaurant to go to with your partner on your travels around Essaouira. Stunning yet understated decor makes the guests feel welcome and special. While the menu is not extensive, each and every dish is to die for. Guests can watch the chef in action in the open kitchen and appreciate the gnaoua murals which were created by a local artist, as well as tucking in to beautifully presented, modern dishes. Not to mention their desserts – a chocolate fondant with salted caramel ice cream is a win in anyone’s books.
Hearty food and a sense of home, Gaïa represents the hospitality of Moroccan culture. With a menu that changes each day depending on what’s available, you know the ingredients are always fresh. How about giving the traditional Moroccan couscous a try? Or perhaps, since Essaouira has an ancient fishing harbor, enjoy a delicious light herbed fish for lunch. Gaïa is located further from the medina, near the beach, so take a scenic walk and follow it up with a dinner made from scratch.
Bar, Restaurant, Moroccan, European, Seafood, Mediterranean, Vegan, Vegetarian
There is certainly a theme to Essaouira’s restaurant – seafood, and plenty of it. La Table by Madada has the best quality fish and seafood around. This is an exceptionally classy restaurant and lounge bar, located at the entrance of the old medina. There’s live music, a great wine selection, and even a cookery workshop. La Table by Madada serves authentic Moroccan dishes. Depending on the season they offer shellfish and many other Atlantic delicacies – a sophisticated experience.
A riad with a restaurant upstairs, Zahra’s Grill overlooks the ocean and provides an unforgettable view while you enjoy a lovely dinner. With a motto ‘from the sea to your table’, the lobster and mussels served there were most likely still in the ocean the same morning. This place is a small restaurant with a quaint, intimate ambiance and booking a table near the window to watch the sunset is recommended. Amazing value for an all-round experience, Zahra’s Grill is one to visit if you love fish.
La Clé de Voute is a mixture of Moroccan and European – mostly French – cuisine. You can enjoy a tuna tagine as well as a goat’s cheese salad with Moroccan Argan oil – light dishes that offer a taste of Morocco. If you’re bored of fish, this is the place to go. With beautiful beef steaks that are of consistent quality, accompanied by local wines and with a relaxed, elegant atmosphere, this restaurant is a fusion of authentic and modern in the best possible way.